How do you deal with the job in the communication sector when you are not a native speaker?

Clemence Dumoulin

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As an international student in Master of  Media Management, I would like to work in a foreign country. That also means dealing with the language and has twice as much challenges. Then, the immersion in the professional world can be difficult for foreign people.

Discover the testimony of two journalism, public relations students to be aware of some issues that can you can face:

T. Part-Time student in Journalism Master:

I find it difficult to find a job in journalism as a non-native speaker. Writing is one of the most important skills a journalist must have. When it comes to find a job in the field, the competition is huge therefore the pressure to be good enough to be shortlisted is big. On the other hand, I truly believe a good knowledge of the grammar will help. As an emigrant journalist, I tried to send out CVs and find a place related to communication and journalism, but I was rejected most of times. No one told me straight to my face what the problem is, but I figure out soon enough. I decided for myself I will do a master’s degree in journalism and meanwhile I will give myself time to take an Advanced Level IELTS test to certify my knowledge of the English language. Of course, it will take me two years to study but at the same time, I’m learning about Irish culture and history and the way Irish people live day by day. It is so important to know these little things – like Irish humour. The positive side is non native speakers come with a huge background in other fields, compared to local journalists. Me for instance – I speak three different languages apart from English and I am an expert on the Eastern European matters. Think about Vladimir Nabokov. He was Russian. Or about Joseph Conrad. Polish. Or other American writers of European background. Beckett – he wrote in French as well, as far as I can say. It is harder. We have to work twice. But it’s not impossible.’

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J. Student in International Media Mangement master, doing an internship in a fashion company in New York as PR intern:

‘My new professional challenge for the next six months is to work for a new fashion brand specialized in evening dresses and gowns, in New York..As a foreign trainee, I had to prove them that I was fluent and able to work in English. After two phone interviews and one Skype interview, they also checked my English writing. I had to produce few Press Releases and Blog posts. They didn’t say something in particular, but as a Marketing and PR intern I knew that I would have to write a lot and should not be afraid to reach out to many people. In the daily work, the company don’t make any difference between us and the other American employees. During all the meetings or even when they give us our tasks, they don’t take in account that we are not English speakers. They hired us for our skills and knowledge, and they consider that speaking English is one of them. If I don’t understand a particular word or sentence, they will repeat or explain to me. It is not easy of course everyday, but I can already feel that I improved a lot my vocabulary and I feel much more confident working in English now. I believe it’s a great immersion method because we feel totally integrated to the team and the company. Being a non English native speaker, I think I will face language issues all my life. There will always be a new vocabulary, slang words or phrases that I won’t understand at first. Being a foreign worker is even more stressful, because we need to work more to be at the same level that our American colleagues. My motivation everyday is to be irreproachable. I worked really hard everyday, I doubled/triples check everything I produce to avoid any mistake. If I do some I always ask for feedback or explanations when it’s possible in order to avoid to do the same mistake in the future.’

Then, follow through with your ambitions!

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Clemence Dumoulin